Anthea was an ‘airhostess’ long before planes were served by cabin crew or flight attendants. Her husband was kept a secret, airhostesses were not allowed to be married. More pressing still was the need to hide her pregnancy. She’d begun work for British United Airways in 1961. BUA held the UK military contract transporting troops to old Rhodesia, Kenya and Uganda during their nascent independence. Hers was a charmed life with time to feel the romance of travel. She remembers the elegance of the ‘Whispering Giant’ – the ‘Britannia’ turboprop she flew in, remembers eating her first avocado pear, spending each night in a new club, seeing bananas growing wild. She drove south east from Nairobi to the coast seeing elephants for the first time. She swam in the coral reefs and ate Mombasa curries. Elephants have come to symbolise this idyllic period. This elephant was a present from her daughter Emma, the daughter who flew the skies with her mother for the five months that Anthea had to hide her pregnancy.

09 Dec 2012